FULANI HERDSMEN AND THEIR RETURN TO NORTHERN NIGERIA TO AVOID DISASTER, DISUNITY AND A NEW WAVE OF CONFLICTS IN NIGERIA ~ Sadiq Umar Abdullahi
The recent events in the Federal Republic of Nigeria with regard to Fulani Herdsmen being driven out of communities in Enugu State and utterance of some prominent leaders and elder statesman in the Southern Region of the country has led to turmoil and exchange of opinion across the nation. The Northern Elders Forum,(NEF),Arewa Consultative Forum,(ACF),Miyetti Allah,Northern Youth Organizations and other individuals have sent out a clarion call for Fulani Herdsmen to move back to the Northern Region of the country where they have been known to belong for centuries.
On the other hand,the Federal Government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari,(GCFR) have a completely different opinion and perspective with regagrd to the matter. The President has publicly issued a statement,telling all Fulani Herdsmen to remain in the Southern Region as it is their constitutional right conferred on the by the 1999,(CFRN) as amended which regards them as citizens of the country,just like every other ethnic and religious group. It is arguable to state that the President spoke too soon and made utterances stating that,” The Northern Elders Forum and The Arewa Consultative Forum amongst other groups and individuals are merely trying to score soft political points by doing telling the Fulani Herdsmen to move back to the Northern Region of the country.
Mr President being of Fulani descent knows more than anyone that Fulani’s never forgive and never forget atrocities committed against them as the entire African Continent and several parts Nigeria bear witness to the Ethnic Conflicts between Fulani’s and other ethnicities in the Northern Region of the nation like,” Southern Kaduna,Taraba,Numan(Adamawa State),Zamfara State,Plateau State
and the present chaos and loss of thousands of lives in Katsina State which happens to be the state where Mr President’s hails from. There are local governments like Batsari LGA,Safana LGA and Kankara LGA among others where the men of the communities have been sleeping on trees for over a year in order to avoid being killed by bandits with there wives being raped and their children kidnapped which goes unreported with no one brought to justice unless the person affected is wealthy and occupies a high position in government. In a rejoinder by the “Arewa Consultative Forum,(ACF),Northern Elders Forum,(NEF),other northern groups and individuals”,Mr President was told that he will be held responsible for any Fulani Hersdman that is killed in the Southern Region of the country.
The Governing Council of Fulani Herdsmen,”Miyetti Allah” have equally issued a public statement,telling them to defend themselves. With all due respect,It is because of such utterances that most people are of he opinion that Mr President remains mute when he ought to speak up and speak when he ought to remain silent. The Federal Government ought to realize that the citizens of Southern Nigeria will not be as accommodating as the citizens of the Northern Region if a single person is killed by both sides. The Southerns are equipped with arms and carryout their conflict and criminalistics with sophisticated weapons as history has recorded through Cultism,Kidnappings and Armed Robberies as opposed to the conventional forms of conflict with machetes and swords. The general idea is is not about hate speech,but rather to impede such avoidable incidents that inspires the call of all Fulani Herdsmen to move back to the Northern Region and be exposed to a modern way of Mechanized Herding in order to avert Herders/Farmers deadly feuds and a new wave of conflict emerging in the Southern Region of the country which will in-turn be inevitable,uncontrollable and ultimately lead to the division of the country known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Southwestern Region are well facilitated with all the elements of true federalism. Their leaders and forum called “AFENIFERE” led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,(National Leader,All Progressives Congress,APC) who defended the Fulani Herdsmen when they were accused of the recent killing of its Chairman’s daughter cleared the air through his liberal perspective. Nonetheless,true federalism at the tipping point of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has found itself in present times as the key element that will accelerate secession of all six regions of the nation. Either way,every region of Nigeria are more than capable of sustaining themselves by utilizing their God given natural resources. The Southern Region have the sea shores and a solid structure with a plethora of natural resources to utilize,while the Northern Region of the country can easily erect railway lines to import and export their resources to other sovereign nations in Africa that boarder with the Northern Region like,” Niger Republic,Chad,Mali and Cameroon. Northern Nigeria being landlocked is of no dire and negative consequences. It will only take a few years for the Northern Region to adapt and reconcile all ethnic,religious and political differences should Federalism results to secession. The second group that made an effort to defend the Fulani Herdsmen and promised to protect them by adopting them as part of the community they were driven out of was the Monarchs in Enugu and a few politicians by giving them assurance of safety.
How many people in Southern Nigeria share the same view when southerners like “FEMI FANI KAYODE” popularly know as “FFK” is always on social media with specific reference to his Twitter Handle inciting all sorts of religious,ethnic and political hate speech everyday with not a single security agency or executive order checking his utterances or issuing any form of effort to curtail his negative and catastrophic incitements and distortion of nation’s unity. It is rather unfortunate that only a fraction of southerners with odds being a million to one share the same view. Having said that,on the contrary Mr President,it is the government officials and some so called southern intellects that are trying to score cheap political points by capitalizing on the Fulani Herdsmen situation in the country.
Fortunately,Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has made available 300 hectares of land in Zamfara State for “RANCHES/RUGA” to educate,compensate and initiate a revenue generation scheme for Zamfara State in order to provide employment opportunities and bring the menace of banditry to an end. The herdsmen will form their own security to
protection their herd and enhance security for the state by safeguarding the Ruga/Ranches provided by the government for the purpose of sustaining their livelihood. His Excellency,Governor Bello Matawalle has made contacts and organized a security meeting with other state governments and Traditional Rulers that have faced similar effects of banditry,Kidnappings and Insurgencies to assist each other in working for peace,unity and harmony. In 30 days,the Governor has facilitated the release of hundreds of captives that were kidnapped by Fulani Herdsmen in recent months. One has no option but to wonder what Zamfara State would be towards the end of his tenure in office if he continues governing the state at the pace of his performance.
However,the attack and killings that just occurred today,the 21st July- 2019 shows the need for the government in Zamfara to do more with regard to security measures,especially in rural areas where the less privileged are more vulnerable to attack cos of the high expectations on them. Failure to do so will end up as a disaster at the long run that will be regarded as an infamous legacy. “WHAT STARTED WELL,WILL SURELY END WELL IN SHAA ALLAH”. The vibrant Governor that has shown irrefutable capacity by declaring his intention to seek for advice from Royal Fathers like,”HRH,Malam Zubair Jibril,(Mai Gwarri II),(HRH,Homun Bachama,Numan),HRH,Shehu of Borno,HRH,Emir of Katsina and HRH,Emir of Daura”. In the interest of fairness,Nigerians should consider the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari,(GCFR) is a retired Military General and they have bled for the country with his colleagues in the Armed Forces paying the ultimate price in the quest of uniting Nigeria as one country,hence why Mr President will never support any attempt that will lead to the secession of a single region of Nigeria as a single entity and a sovereign nation. Unfortunately for Mr President and for those that share the same opinion as his,times have changed and every region and its leaders like “Ohanaeze” and the “Independent People of Biafra,(IPOB) in the Southeastern Region and Militant groups like “Niger Delta Avengers” are all calling for restructuring the Nigerian Democratic System of Government with the purpose of ensuring sustainable equality between all regions in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It will take serious measures to keep Nigeria as one and the notion of zoning will inevitably seize to exist.
The Federal Government should equally consider calling the “Islamic Shi’a Group” to the table for dialogue and consider the release of their leader,”SHEIKH IBRAHIM AL-ZAKAKY” as their public protests are increasing and becoming more hostile by the day in several parts of the country,most especially the Federal Capital Territory,(FCT),Abuja. Mr President sir,the calling of Fulani Herdsmen back to Nigeria is merely a preventive measure of another dangerous group of rebels to emerge as a result of the sensitive Fulani Herdsmen destructive situation.
May Allah SWA continue to bless,guide and protect us with his infinite wisdom and mercy. Amin Ya Rahman
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